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Following Slide and Scanner Launches, Genewave to Debut HybLive System in 2008

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EDINBURGH, UK — Genewave, a Palaiseau, France-based tool vendor that has built its business on selling slides for array applications, next year will launch a hybridization station targeting users across the bioarray market spectrum.
 
According to Yann Marcy, product manager of Genewave's biochip readers and integrated systems business, the company plans to launch HybLive, a benchtop system that combines a hybridization station with a fluorescent reader, in the first half of next year.
 
The system will target users from proteomic researchers to government scientists developing biodefense applications, Genewave said. It will also follow last year’s launch of its CCD-based AmpliReader 4600 microarray reader, which heralded Genewave's expansion from a slide company to an instrument vendor.
 
"We have a monochromal version of HybLive in beta testing and the plan is to have a three-color reader available as part of HybLive for a launch in the first half of '08," Marcy said. Marcy spoke to BioArray News at Select Biosciences' Advances in Microarray technology conference, held here last week.
 
In a follow-up e-mail, Marcy wrote that a “pre-launch” version of the system will be available for testing and custom studies in November, and a “full product launch” is scheduled for spring 2008.
 
The HybLive launch will follow two recent debuts from the French company. Last year, Genewave launched its AmpliSlide 570/670 A two-color microarray slides and the AmpliReader, which has a footprint of 10 X 14 inches and costs around €19,800 ($26,600).
 
Both launches underscore a recent resurgence in the market for self-spotted array equipment that has seen relatively young players launch slides and hardware. For example, Salt Lake City-based BioMicro Systems launched its MAUI hybridization system in 2005 and recently began partnering with Arrayjet, a 7-year-old UK-based spotter company, to distribute its system in the US and Canada (see related story, this issue).
 
Meantime other firms have shown interest in the scanner market. Vidar Systems earlier this year launched its Revolution 2400 scanner, priced at $40,000, and Winston Wong, director of Vidar’s microarray scanner business, told BioArray News here last week that Vidar has other undisclosed products in its pipeline.
 
Genewave’s HybLive product, however, will compete against both scanners and hybridization systems, putting it up against players as diverse as BioMicro, Vidar, and even tool vending heavyweights like Tecan — which sells a high-throughput hyb station that is used by companies like Agilent and Exiqon.
 

Genewave’s HybLive product, however, will compete against both scanners and hybridization systems, putting it up against players as diverse as BioMicro, Vidar, and even tool vending heavyweights like Tecan.

To stay competitive, Genewave has decided to focus on its core technology while targeting a diverse customer base.
 
In particular, Marcy wrote in an e-mail to BioArray News this week that Genewave sees several advantages to its system, starting with the fact that it is an open platform and is “compatible with the standard format nucleic acids or protein microarray slides” that are mounted in HybLive’s reusable cartridge. The HybLive also combines a variety of array tools into one system, so that washing, temperature control, and scanning can all be optimized to meet the needs of individual researchers.
 
While Genewave pledges that its system is suitable for any application, it sees its strong suit as SNP discrimination, an application that could make it a relevant buy for those interested in diagnostics or environmental testing.
 
According to Marcy, Genewave’s target customers include scientists in the field of genomics and proteomics that are doing genotyping, micro-organism detection, and sample monitoring; diagnosis kit developers in industrial companies, hospitals, academia, and biotech companies; and assay developers in forensics, the agrifood industry, environmental control, cosmetics, and the pharmaceutical industry.
 
Currently the firm will be focused on the European market, although it has attended some events in the US over the past year. Marcy said that Genewave currently lacks US and Japanese distributors and for the time being will support the roll-out of its new products from its headquarters in France.